Postcard from... Los Angeles

 

Tim Walker
Monday 21 July 2014 20:15
Comments

Anyone who lives in or visits Los Angeles and is interested in its history as a movie town ought to seek out and watch the 2003 documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself. A 169-minute cinematic essay by filmmaker, academic and Angeleno Thom Andersen, it is comprised entirely of clips from films shot in and around Los Angeles, overlaid with Andersen’s narration.

To wander the city as a film fan is to stumble endlessly upon movie landmarks. Los Angeles Plays Itself is a lament for neighbourhoods that no longer exist except on celluloid, and a guide to those that do. Never released commercially, Andersen’s magnum opus was, until now, shown only at select screenings and shared online under semi-legal circumstances. This autumn, it is finally coming out on DVD.

The film is a love letter to the city and a polemic about its misappropriation: the 1997 adaptation of James Ellroy’s LA Confidential comes in for criticism for abbreviating Los Angeles to “LA”, a habit Andersen abhors. He also faults the Oscar-nominated film for using the Lovell Health House, built in 1929, as the home of a high-class pimp. Hollywood film-makers, Andersen points out, have a terrible habit of turning modernist masterpieces into villains’ lairs.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in